2

I have consulted dictionaries and Google, but I'm still not sure whether "certificate" is the correct word for signed transcripts of registration details, course credits and the like that students can get from the department office at uni. If "certificate" is indeed the correct word, can I talk about a "registration certificate" when I intend a signed transcript of details about what courses a certain student is enrolled in? I'd be very grateful if someone could help me out here :)

Thanks!

21
  • 1
    In the U.S., that would be called a “transcript” or an”official transcript.” It might also be called a “certified transcript.” I do not think “certificate” would be understood as a transcript because the word certificate has a much broader meaning than just a school transcript. May 29 at 17:46
  • 1
    As I mentioned I was not sure what the official term was since we do not have such things as far as I am aware. The document you get with a record of what school leaving exams you passed with their grades we know as a certificate. If you need to be understood in the US then @JeffMorrow answer is correct.
    – mdewey
    May 30 at 12:40
  • 1
    OK: Do you mean this: An official record of all the courses you took and marks (grades) you received? Please be aware that non-native speakers often confuse registration and record. However, this transcript (AmE) does not show course enrollment per se. Only completed courses or ones you dropped. Also, here, certificate is completely wrong.
    – Lambie
    May 30 at 18:20
  • 1
    Uhh, @Lambie, *di·plo·ma /dəˈplōmə/ noun a certificate awarded by an educational establishment to show that someone has successfully completed a course of study. * I would agree that diploma and degree are more common, but they are all certificates.
    – Mark G B
    May 30 at 22:14
  • 1
    @Helen I hadn't thought of certificate as a hypernym of diploma, although it might technically be so (dictionary definition). I would think it a synonym, with overlapping areas of meaning or usage with diploma. That might be a good topic for a question or for discussion! I do see, though, from my previous comments, why you are thinking of "hypernym" in this case!
    – Mark G B
    Jun 1 at 10:51
2

In the U.S. certificate would not be understood when requesting a student's records. To get a record of courses taken and/or scholastic awards achieved one would be requesting a transcript, or one would simply request the student's records. A certificate would be the document one receives at graduation, attesting that the student did indeed graduate. Transcripts, to my knowledge, are not certified either, although you would get official transcripts, meaning there is some level of attested accuracy. Graduation certificates (diplomas) would be signed by the appropriate authorities.

As for the use of registration, in the US that is simply the act of signing up for the school or for classes. It would never refer to scholastic or academic records. If one wanted the current course schedule, then one could request a list of courses the student is registered* in. Once the courses have been completed, and exams taken, then the student will no longer be registered in those courses, and the courses will become part of the student's academic records. In the US, register as a list (noun) would not be used for academic records.**

Lastly, this is all hypothetical. I am reasonably certain that, if a 3rd party did request a student's records in the US, in any sense discussed here, they would be turned down flat, as it would be an invasion of privacy. They could find out if the student graduated, and what their major area of study was, but I think that would be about it. Of course, a student may request their own records.

*A comment has been made that the use of registration here is incorrect, and enroll would be preferred. In my experience this is not a distinction that is commonly made. This distinction may or may not be correct, I could not say. However, in my experience the two are nearly interchangeable, and this answer is regarding the usage of register/registration specifically.

**As a side-note for possible discussion, notice the differences in definition of register provided by Google (from Oxford Dictionaries) and that provided by the Cambridge Dictionary. The definition provided by the Oxford Dictionaries might be broadly taken to be usable for student records, whereas that provided by the Cambridge Dictionary does not seem to extend that broadly.

4
  • 1
    Thanks! Ah, yes - I didn't mean someone else could request any transcripts; I meant that any one student can request a transcript of their own achievements etc :)
    – Helen
    May 31 at 15:29
  • 1
    LOL! In which case, I might have to modify my answer to include that possibility! I don't know why I thought you were asking as though a 3rd party was making the request!
    – Mark G B
    Jun 1 at 10:58
  • 1
    @Helen Also, although perhaps a bit nitpickey, while Lambie is correct about the correct usage of "registered in" vs "enrolled in" when speaking of classes, I don't recall students making such fine distinctions. A university staffer might make that distinction, though. Regardless, I may modify my answer to use "enrolled" rather than "registered", since these answers shouldn't lead readers to questionable usage.
    – Mark G B
    Jun 1 at 11:07
  • 1
    @Helen You might also find some interesting trivia about the varying usage of diploma and certificate around the world in Wikipedia's page for "diploma". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diploma
    – Mark G B
    Jun 1 at 16:52
2

In the U.S., "official transcript" or "certified transcript" from X would be understood and would sound idiomatic. "Official registration transcript" sounds excessive.

I'd listen to @mdewey for British English.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.